Monday, March 10


I can't help but feel like I'm not a true part of the Cleveland Sports blogosphere until I undergo the true ritual of the brotherhood, the rite of passage that unites all those who write about the athletic scene in the Forest City:

Ripping on Bill Livingston.

It's been done so many ways and by so many angles, one might wonder what more I can say, but I feel a calling, and urge, one that may have reached down into the loins. Livingston has been writing such bad columns for so long that it just wouldn't feel right not to pick on him, at least once. Now, this is made difficult by the fact that I officially swore off reading his work a few months ago, but browsing the sports page today online I noticed the teaser headline for Billy's latest opus:

Cleveland Cavaliers' James very good, but far from the greatest

Right away, just from the title alone, you know this is going to be an incredibly stupid article. It can't be good. At all. What's funny is that Livingston fancies himself a basketball man and writes many of his stories about roundball, but they're not any better than the rest of the nonsense he pens. Today, of all the basketball-related topics Livingston had to choose from (the Cavs made a trade you might have heard of; I understand the playoffs are near), he decided to author a piece on how LeBron James isn't the greatest basketball player EVER.

Check that: the article is in fact about how LeBron is not the best 23-year-old athlete in the history of athletic competition. I wish I was making this up. The whole column is rambling and ill-supported, but by far the best line, the really quintissential Livy here, is this gem:

"The greatest young male athlete ever has to be a tie between Pele and Bob Mathias."

Can you spot the flaws in this sentence? Picking out the logical errors is sort of like playing nudie photo hunt, only minus the nudie photo. I mean, you're insisting that the competition for best young male athlete (an ill-conceived non-contest if ever there was one) has to be a tie between a soccer player and a guy you, dear blog reader, have never heard of. Go ahead, read the article - he actually writes this with a straight face. Even better, Livingston declares that YOU MUST declare this competition to be a tie between these two gentlemen.

A tie.

I like the idea that Livingston has constructed an elaborate Excel spreadsheet that precisely and accurately quantifies the greatness of these two fellows, including several complex and innovative macros that Livingston wrote using Visual Basic, that the result came to an exact tie out to 17 significant digits, and that the numbers, logic, and equations that Livy painstakingly selected are so irrefutable that you have no choice but to accede to his point of view.

Or else he just sat there and randomly declared it after like 6.5 minutes of sort-of thinking about it. Your call.

No comments: